Vegetarian Feed

Chicken searching for grub

Chicken searching for grub

We got a few chicks, of unknown breed, from a guy, selling them next to the farmers market. This wasn’t a real farmers market, it is a place with a bunch of traders who buy vegetables and fruits from farmers and other traders, and sell them retail, but that is beside the story. This guy selling the chicks was probably trying to dispose them off in a hurry, since the southwest monsoon had started, and the chicks are more likely to become sick during the rains.
Out of the five chicks we started with, only one managed to survive more than a week. The rest became sick, or were picked off by the crows. But we would have never fully guessed the diet of the chicks if we hadn’t seen their preference with our own eyes. When they were hardly a week old, you’ll see them running after the crickets, small roaches, and other insects in the gardens, eating them with the efficiency of a seasoned veteran. The bad news, only one chick survived, but it shows that when you have birds around, you probably have less to worry about insects.

If you look at the eggs on the supermarket shelves, some of them say “vegetarian feed, no bad odour”. You are tempted to believe that chickens prefer grains, but nature works otherwise. Paul Wheaton mocks at the “certified humaneness” of providing chickens with a vegetarian diet (http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp), of how “we are raising chickens to suffer to satisfy the passions of ignorant twits!”.
This simplistic belief is another reason birds that used to be extremely common, like the house sparrows, are not common anymore. Our “scientific knowledge” totally decoupled from nature, as we spend more time in insulated boxes, looks more like propaganda from corporate interests. Sparrows need the rich diet of worms and insects more than the gynecological services and nesting boxes provided by naive sparrow lovers.
In the boxed world, people don’t like to allow even grass to grow either inside or outside their compound walls. This has to be “cleaned”, so that insects don’t take up residence there. The wind picks up the bare soil and blows them over the roads, or into houses, or people just breathe them in. People like it better that way.
Like the broilers in a broiler farm, that do not leave the comfort of the farm, even if the doors are left open, more and more people, are seeking to avoid the living ecology that we are part of.
Why do the store bought eggs have runny, very light colored yolks? The yellowness is sometimes enhanced through the use of beta-carotene supplements. But are we even aware of the existence of nutritious, firm, bright orange yolks from real chickens that run free, from chickens that ate all the protein rich bugs they could find. If you have seen them, you realize that store bought eggs look almost diarrheic!

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